Agosto 2007


A small corner of Colombia’s new Serrania de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park (Photo courtesy Environment Ministry of Colombia

 

BOGOTA, Colombia, August 31, 2007 (ENS) – The government of Colombia has created a new national park for the protection of one of the greatest areas of biodiversity in the country, inhabited by such rare and endangered animals as the Andean bear, jaguar, puma and tapir.

The new park stretches from the lowlands of the Amazon Basin to the slopes of the Andean Mountains, covering 97,180 hectares, or 375 square miles.

Environment, Air and Territorial Development Minister Juan Lozano Ramirez announced the creation of the Serrania de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park in Bogota on Thursday.

“In the new national park, 461 species of birds have been registered – equivalent to 26 percent of the birds in all of the country, the minister said. “They are not only important for their representativeness at the national level, but for the fact that 77 percent of them depend on the ecosystem conserved in the protected area.”

The Churumbelos mountainous area is recognized for its great biodiversity. Some 30 species of amphibians and 16 species of reptiles live in the newly protected area as well as more than 140 species of butterflies, and 825 species of plants.

“We will mobilize to all of Colombian society in support of our natural parks,” said Lozano Ramirez.

The global conservation organization WWF participated in the process that led to the declaration of the new park and will help implement the management plan, which includes the promotion of conservation and sustainable development in and around the newly protected area.

“The new park significantly increases the network of protected areas that are so important for the conservation of Andean and Amazon ecosystems,” said Luis Germán Naranjo, WWF-Colombia’s ecoregional conservation director.

“Our work with the Colombian parks authorities will boost activities to preserve the Amazon Basin at local, regional, national and international levels,” said Naranjo.

This new protected area will be a valuable opportunity to conserve and to consolidate the culture of the indigenous communities, the Inga and Yanaconas, and to assist them in the recovery of their cultural practices, Naranjo said.

 

For these communities, the Churumbelos mountains are a place where territory and culture are based on a single concept, fundamental in the symbolic and material recreation of their culture.

It is believed that the Andaqui ethnic group lives in voluntary isolation from modern societies at the headwaters of the Forge and Mandiyaco rivers in the Churumbelos mountains. The creation of the national park protects the territory occupied by this ethnic group, under the precautionary principle, Naranjo said.

Minister Lozano Ramirez announced the new park during a Forum on the International Ecosystems of the Millenium. Speaking at the event, he emphasized that the environment is not a secondary consideration for his government, but on the contrary “is a subject of state that engages at the highest level the public responsibilities of the official agencies.”

In 2008, the minister said, Colombia’s National System of Natural Parks will have the largest financial investment in its history.

 

In addition to several agencies of the Colombian government, the park was created with the assistance of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through the project Piedemonte Andino-Amazo’nico Colombia, the Embassy of the Netherlands, the Global Environment Facility, and the United Nations, WWF Colombia and the Institute of Etnobiología.

in ens-newswire 

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This video is a little long, but it is an amazing view of the dangers faced by activists working in places like this.

 

From the Guardian’s website:

Paulo Adário, the coordinator of Greenpeace’s Amazonia campaign, who led the mission subsequently complained that ‘We heard from the Mayor and all of the others that the Constitution does not exist in Juína, there is no right to go and see, no freedom of the press. It is completely unacceptable that ranchers, with the support of the local authorities, can violate our freedom of movement and freedom of expression in this way.’Unfortunately such threats are both very real and very common in Brazil today. Over the past 30 years, 1,237 rural workers, union leaders and activist have been killed in Brazilian land disputes and only a tiny handful people have ever been convicted as a result.

I have huge respect for journalists and activist who put their lives on the line to get the truth out. But as Paulo reminded me by email:

We could leave the region with our plane and – that Tuesday – remove the two Opan guys. But the Enawene will stay there forever, and Opan needs to come back to help them. They are under threat, not us.

He’s right. They’ve asked for our help, and brave people like that deserve it. One way we can help to keep them safe is to spread the word. So please forward this video around.

 

Survival International is also calling on people to write emails and letters. Also see the OPAN website.

 

post do Andrew no Blog Making Waves

 

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August 30, 2007

 

Threats and intimidation down Amazon way

 

As the narrator of this startling video states, “working in the Amazon forest is not for the faint of heart.” In the past, people from campaigning organisations have been bullied by land owners and workers, facing intimidation, violence, death threats and even murder. The most recent example, documented in the video from Greenpeace Brazil, happened just last week and seeing footage of a situation verging on outright violence, I’ve found a new level of respect for the men and women who put themselves in the firing line.

 

 

The trouble began when a group of representatives from Greenpeace and Operation Native Amazon (an organisation working with forest communities), along with two French journalists, went to visit the indigenous Enawene-Nawe people near the town of Juina in Mato Grosso state. All they wanted to do was document their way of life in the forest, but were prevented from doing so by an angry mob of farmers and local officials.

 

Attempts to negotiate failed as it became clear that the farmers considered themselves as owners of not just the land and roads, but also the Enawene-Nawe as well. As the group are escorted away by a convoy of Jeeps and pick-up trucks, this appalling affront to civil liberties in a democratic country is a shock to the system, particularly as the town mayor was helping to run them out of town. At least they could leave, but the Enawene-Nawe’s lands are surrounded by farms which are continually encroaching on the forest.

 

When it comes down to it, the rights of a community who have lived there for generations are being challenged by the commercial ambitions of farmers who have been cutting down the forest for perhaps 20 years. I know who I’m backing.

 

post do Jamie no Blog Making Waves

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BBC Brasil – BBC

 

Tamanho do texto? A A A A

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– A organização não-governamental Survival International lançou nesta quarta-feira uma campanha para proteger tribos isoladas da Amazônia.

De acordo com a ONG, que produziu um filme para a campanha, mais de cem tribos em todo o mundo continuam sem manter contato com a civilização.

“Elas representam os povos mais vulneráveis do mundo, que podem ser exterminados nos próximos 20 anos caso os seus direitos a um território não sejam reconhecidos e defendidos”, afirmou a atriz Julie Christie, estrela do filme Doutor Jivago (1965) e narradora do filme.

A campanha da ONG defende o direito desses índios de viverem isolados e alega que o contato com o “homem branco” trouxe conseqüências negativas a várias tribos.

A organização cita o exemplo dos akuntsu, um povo das florestas de Rondônia. Hoje, há apenas seis sobreviventes dessa tribo.

De acordo com a Survival, quando a Funai tentou entrar em contato com os akuntsu em 1995, descobriu que criadores de gado tinham invadido as terras deles e massacrado quase todos.

Depois da matança, segundo a ONG, os agressores teriam destruído as ocas com tratores para eliminar provas do crime.

“Um dos homens (que sobreviveram ao ataque), Pupak, ainda guarda uma bala de chumbo nas costas e conta que homens armados o perseguiram a cavalo. Eles vivem em um pequeno resto de floresta”, diz o texto da Survival.

Outro exemplo citado pela ONG para justificar a necessidade de isolamento dos índios é o da tribo Awá, um povo de caçadores nômades do leste da Amazônia.

De acordo com a Survival International, hoje os awá estão sob pressão de enormes projetos agroindustriais, criadores de gado e grileiros.

“Estamos sendo encurralados pelos brancos. Eles estão sempre avançando e agora estão quase em cima de nós. Estamos sempre em fuga. Amamos a floresta porque nascemos aqui e sabemos como sobreviver a partir dela. Sem a floresta, vamos sumir, vamos ser extintos”, afirmou um líder indígena dos awá, To”o, à ONG. BBC Brasil – Todos os direitos reservados. É proibido todo tipo de reprodução sem autorização por escrito da BBC.

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